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Review: Wacom Graphire4 4x5
October 24, 2005
Author: Naphthalene Manufacturer: Wacom
Department: Hardware Model: Graphire4 4x5 CTE-440
Article Type: Review Time Spent: 1 month
 
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Introduction




I’ve been using Wacom tablets since 1997 — actually, I’ve been using the same Wacom tablet for the last 8 years. It’s a 6x8 ArtZ II model which features a serial connection and requires an AC adapter (supplied).

I do a lot of graphics work that effectively necessitates using a tablet: using a mouse while trying to draw anything with an organic feel to it is a lot like using a sledge hammer to set a finishing nail (not that I’ve ever used a sledge hammer in such a fashion!).

Enough with the preamble! I say this you all: Wacom makes a durable product, and from the looks of things, the Graphire4 won’t be any exception.

Unlike its heftier relatives in the Intuos line, which we reviewed here or the Cintiq series of tablets, the Graphire4 is available only in 4x5 and 6x8 sizes. I’ve rarely — if ever! — needed more input real estate than my old 6x8 provided. The Graphire4 comes with a cordless, battery-free, pressure-sensitive pen (with 512 levels of pressure sensitivity) and a cordless, battery-free mouse. I’m left handed (much to the chagrin of anyone who’s ever tried to use my work station) – and it’s great to have an input device that doesn’t require me to conform to the rules of Righty! (The mouse is ambidextrous too.)

The pen has a nib at one end and an eraser at the other; it also has two programmable buttons, commonly used for left- and right-clicking, though you’re by no means required to use them that way.

The mouse, on the surface at least, looks like any other two-button wheel mouse. (The wheel also functions as a third button.) When you flip it over, however, you’ll notice that instead of a trackball or diffused red LED, there’s just a fabric surface. The mouse’s buttons are also programmable.

The Graphire4 also comes with an installation CD and software bundle CD that includes Adobe Photoshop Elements 3, Corel Painter Essentials, EverNote Plus 1, JustWrite Office 4.1, and nik Color Efex Pro 2 GE.
Packaging and Contents


The Graphire4 comes packaged in an eye-catching, attractive box. The front of the box is peppered with suggestions of things you can do with the Graphire4, such as enhancing your digital photos, drawing and painting, annotating documents, and more. The back of the box contains much more detail about its various contents.

The box front has a cutout in the middle that allows you to see the actual tablet, pen, and mouse; these contents are protected by a molded plastic clamshell — which, thankfully, has indentations that allow you to easily remove the components once you’ve opened the box.

Oh! Also of note — there’s a Quick Start Guide that explains how to install both the tablet and the bundled software and how to use the tablet once everything’s up and running.
 
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